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The team of heart failure physicians and cardiothoracic surgeons at Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) continue to build on the success of the Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) program, which started in 2018. The LVAD Program recently completed a successful DNV survey and achieved recertification with 100% compliance, no adverse findings, and recognition of a meticulously supervised program.
Like all the patient-centered heart care services at Georgia Heart Institute, the LVAD program is made up of a comprehensive team that includes doctors, surgeons, VAD coordinators and educators partnered with psychology, palliative care, physical therapy and rehab, nursing pharmacists, and the NGHS chaplain department. The entire journey a patient experiences when receiving an LVAD is curated specifically for each patient’s needs from diagnosis to rehabilitation and nutrition resources post-implant.

“One of the few programs of its kind in the state, our LVAD program is a team effort involving doctors, surgeons, VAD coordinators, and educators along with psychology, palliative care, physical therapy and rehab, nursing pharmacists, and the NGHS chaplain department”, said Ugochukwu Egolum, MD, medical director of the LVAD program, part of the Heart Failure Treatment & Recovery Center, overseen by Vikram Raje, DO.

The LVAD team even hosts a celebration for patients currently living with an LVAD. The “VADentines Day” event brings together a community group of LVAD recipients and their families to share in their recovery and their successes of returning to normal, everyday life. “NGHS is one of the few centers in the state of Georgia that offers left ventricular assist devices,” said R. Kyle Thompson, MD, the Surgical Director for Advanced Heart Failure. “We’re the only ones in this region that smaller facilities rely on when a patient is in urgent need of intervention for severe heart failure cases. We’re able to provide options other places don’t have.”

The Heart Failure Treatment & Recovery Center has successfully implanted 10 new LVAD implants in the past year and has completed a total of 53 implants since the LVAD program began in July 2018.

“We’ve made leaps and bounds with our growth since the program was launched,” Dr. Egolum said. “At first, we just started with one implant in our first year (2018). We’re also one of the few programs that grew significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our program also stands out because once patients travel north outside the Atlanta perimeter, there are no other advanced heart failure programs in north Georgia up into North Carolina, which accounts for a huge population of communities that we’re able to provide care for.”

To refer a patient to the LVAD program, call 770-829-0187.